November 11, 2016 by missionsandmysticism
These testimonies were in the comments section in response to the article on this site. We thought they were important to reiterate.
“I’m also a former World Racer and until I went on “mission” with AIM, I had never been exposed to Dominion or Kingdom Now theology. I’m a young believer, and yet I praise God for what sufficient bible literacy I had to discern as to when to apply the litmus test to some of the teachings: in other words, I would go read the bible in context. Practicing exegesis (reading the Scriptures in context) was a huge factor in me not compromising sound doctrine and seriously not losing faith.
Since everyone else so vehemently lauded AIM with great examples, so will I.
It lines up with exactly AIM claims and I quote from their website regarding their ministry distinctives: “We emphasize interdenominationalism.
The main thing is to make the main thing the main thing. We are tolerant of a variety of beliefs and practices within the mainstream of Christian practice. Where there is excess, we seek to be a force for moderation.”
So what would that look like?
A great example happened when a squad leader came out to “correct” and settle a dispute regarding the gift of prophesy. Blatantly, the person used 1 Corinthians 14:31 emphasizing that “ALL CAN PROPHESY.” We had become at odds concerning this because as part of the exploration process of activating our gifts where we were encouraged to write out everyone’s name on a piece of paper, fold it, put it in a container, pass it around blindly — upon each person selecting a piece of paper, without opening to reveal the name, we were to practice “listening prayer” and then formulate a response based on what we heard from the spirit.
After all, God knows everyone and can see the name on the piece of paper. Many eagerly, with full laughter, glee and excitement treated this as a game. Others, had a bit more reverence and strong convictions about how this resembled divination and sorcery. This “prophesy game” was now botched by lack of participation and those who did not want to partake were seen as bible-thumpers and judgmental. So correction had to come down on us. Force of moderation, I guess, is what took place. It felt more like bullying, and it was not theologically sound.
Subsequently, scripture was twisted to justify that we “all can prophesy” so not to be afraid of this sort of method of activating our gifts and to be more open-minded in how God wants to speak.
While it was stressed over and over and over again that we “needed to choose in to the process” or that we needed to “make this a safe place” and that there is “freedom here,” clearly there was not freedom to abstain or walk away without strife. It was a teaching being forced on us which contradicted God’s word.
Now we can look at this situation, which really did happen, in various ways:
1) we can absolve all of AIM and blame the one leader and chalk it up to them not knowing what they were teaching
2) we can recognize that this leader was also formerly a World Racer, a requirement to come back and lead a squad, and who was not alone but partnered up with another leader who was also a former World Racer — but there was no checks & balance evident that would indicate that any leadership disagreed with what was being taught
3) we can take into consideration that this is evident fruit of a ministry (AIM) being produced by the fact that this was not a one-time-incident but occurred repeatedly in this manner and tactic for over 5 months
4) if all of this was an honest misunderstanding, it makes no sense why leadership was always so bent on keeping these teaching-bloopers isolated and we were harshly warned not to infect the other squad members who were not present (this ended up creating factions and a huge dispute on Spirit vs Word based faith)
Needless to say, only those who continuously absorbed such teachings kept rising in rank and continued to enforce such teachings and practices.
So, by the 7th month, damage control and PR came into the picture at one of our debriefs where we were issued as a group an apology for how we had been treated by aforementioned leadership; the faith card was pulled with many tears being shed by these people from headquarters asking for our grace and forgiveness — and offering a free copy of “Kingdom Journeys” to everyone, as a gift.
Openly, we were invited to ask questions and this was said to be a “safe place” to share how we really felt, so I did. And I even referenced Luke 17:2. You can bet there was not much grace or any tears nor the feeling of being safe after I expressed severe concern regarding the teachings and theology. Instead, I was openly condemned as judgmental and told I was casting judgments which like a boomerang were going to come back and get me. How loving is that? This is from people up in HQ. Great diversion to not address the theology behind the process.
(However, when asked again in more private group conversation, there was absolutely no apology issued for the teachings or methods that were being promoted — we were simply told that our “process” had been disrupted.)
There was absolutely nothing biblical about their discipleship methods or “spiritual formation,” as they like to call it. I felt like I was stuck in an infomercial for Seth Barne’s book “Kingdom Journeys.” When I did go up the ladder to express my concerns for various other issues, and when I questioned certain aspects of the “process” or “spiritual formation,” I was told I made everything too theological and that this was unhealthy. I was then chastised for being unforgiving, bitter and judgmental. All I wanted to do was reasonably examine the Scriptures and get some answers I could understand that didn’t involve me being made to feel guilty for asking.
You can clearly read my blogs and see that I also had “great experiences” but I’m going to link the very last one and let you conclude for yourself whether or not that sounds like it was written by someone in an environment for healthy spiritual growth.
When all else failed, I made my situation known from a month-to-month perspective to my elders at my home church. Having an actual lifeline home and accountability proved to be wise! They quickly connected the dots, and fasted — they unanimously heard from the Lord to bring me home. Shortly after I left, so did many others. The funny thing is, of those that left, the majority of us are/have been/will continue to be missionaries.
I’m sure this post could open me up to some rotten tomatoes, for sure. I am very thankful for the sacred gift God gave me of preserving my faith for the duration of that mission, opening my eyes to a very clear and present danger of false prophets and teachers, the importance of not having wimpy theology and the need to bolster biblical literacy in this generation and for allowing me to witness salvation. To the praise of God, 4 of my World Race co-missionaries were saved (not re-dedicated), but born again, then baptized and you cannot put a price on that. Heaven rejoices. Those that most needed to hear the truth of the Gospel were amongst our own.
Here is another,
“As a former participant of the World Race, I happen to agree with what you have said and believe that AIM has some major flaws. During my time on the race, I had a lot of differences with AIM’s teachings. One of my squad mates sent me a copy of Claris’ article on AIM and it brought up almost every issue that I had with the organization. When I returned home I got in contact with Claris and we compared notes on the research she had done and the experience I had. One of the most troubling things was AIM’s connection to the New Apostolic Reformation and Kingdom Now theology. They also tend to treat the race as more of a spiritual journey than a real mission trip (or at least what most Christians would consider a mission trip). I would not recommend AIM or the World Race until they take a closer look at how their teachings line up with the Bible.
It is our responsibility as followers of Christ to offer correction to our brothers and sisters when we believe they are out of step with God.”
Category: Adventures in Missions/World Race
| Tags: dominion, kingdom now, short term mission trips, testimonies
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